Since November 10, 2016, the Canadian government has implemented a new authorization system to allow travelers to visit or transit Canada. Like the ESTA authorization, this new measure makes life easier for travelers by offering them a faster and easier alternative to obtaining a traditional American visa. Entering Canada now requires you to apply online for an eTA Canada, an Electronic Travel Authorization. This is a simplified visa required for citizens of France and member countries which can be obtained online from the Canadian administration.
New restrictions in effect since November 30, 2021
The rules in force for access to Canadian territory change rapidly and frequently depending on the management of the health crisis due to COVID-19 and its various variant viruses. All of the measures taken attempt to best protect the health and safety of Canadians.
Requirement to be vaccinated to enter Canada
Since November 30, it is necessary to be vaccinated to enter Canada. Tests negative for COVID-19 are no longer accepted to enter Canada, except for a few rare exceptions such as medical incapacity to vaccines. This vaccination obligation is verified before boarding managed by the airlines or railways serving Canada.
Regarding leaving the country for less than 72 hours
Canadian residents no longer have to test negative for COVID-19 if they leave the country for less than 72 hours.
Regarding the list of vaccines against COVID-19
The list of vaccines allowing a traveler wishing to enter Canada to be considered fully vaccinated has been extended. This list now includes the vaccines Sinopharm, Sinovac and Covaxin (according to the WHO list).
Stay informed of changes in access restrictions to Canadian territory by regularly visiting the Canada site.
Who can benefit from ESTA Canada?
Nationals of a large number of countries, including France, benefit from the possibility of applying for ESTA Canada. The request is made via the downloadable form which can be found on the Canadian government site. The process takes a few minutes and you will simply need to bring your passport, which must be valid enough to cover the period of your stay.
After a few days of verifications, the country’s authorities will send you their answers by email.
Note: Please note that it is necessary to complete one form per person. For families, this means filling out a request for each adult and child.
ESTA Canada: a sesame with multiple advantages?
The authorization will be valid for a period of 5 years, or until the date of validity of your passport. Following which you will have to renew the request. The document authorizes you to stay in Canada as often as you wish (for a maximum period of 90 days per trip) during the period of validity of your ESTA Canada.
Note: A refusal does not mean that you are banned from staying, but that you will have to go through the embassy or consulate in order to obtain a visa.
The establishment of such a system joins a recent trend of governments wanting to strengthen the security of their borders, while financing the promotion of tourism through the taxes collected. After America and Canada, Europe is also on the verge of establishing its ETIAS travel authorization. This electronic travel authorization for entry into the Schengen area was initially supposed to be in place in 2020. Due to the delay taken by European organizations and the COVID-19 crisis, ETIAS has not yet issued a date scheduled for its implementation.